I love hearing about why people love fashion. The trends, style icons – everyone is unique. Here I celebrate some of my local fashion icons!

Happy Saturday lovelies! I am really excited to share with you a style session about myself. This week I want to share a little more with you about where my love for style came from and why it’s so important to me.

I love fashion for many reasons; it is my favorite way of expressing myself and there really is no “right or wrong” which is what makes it so unique for each person. It’s a way of being bold, making a statement, without actually needing to say anything. Now in many ways my particular style can really say a lot, however if I was to narrow it down to one word I would simply go with cozy. I want to feel 100% comfortable every single day. Whether that is a warm fabric or a dress that makes me feel comfortable. I want to take on each day without anything hindering my spirit. Clothing should feel comfortable and make ME feel comfortable.

So why fashion? Why pursue styling? Well, if I’m honest here’s the deal. As a woman I am constantly being told messages through social media, people, magazines etc about what a “woman” should look like. I don’t agree with that, I don’t like feeling pressured to look, act or be a certain way. There are so many negative messages being sent out there to our younger generations of what women should look like, what their weight should be. Beauty is so skewed these days, my goal is to bring back a healthy image of what women should aspire to be. Themselves. There should be this drive to inspire, and see inner beauty and confidence. Fashion is my way of loving myself no matter what my size.

My favorite time of year is fall! I love the fashion; boots, scarves, chunky sweaters. Anyone who knows me knows that I live for apples, pumpkins, wineries and big oversized sweaters. Going off what is my favorite, I would say that I absolutely feel most comfortable in a good pair of skinny jeans. (particularly Loft – modern skinny’s are the way to go!) I just feel a good pair of skinnys can help me take on anything, and it’s so easy to pair an outfit around them.
I often feel inspired by the weather and season that we are in. I love the fall because of the changing leaves, and the browns and reds that come with each new line that comes out. Finding nice, fall colors and pairing them with some boots always makes me feel ready to frolic around with my girlfriends. I love new trends and pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone. Mixing patterns is always a trend that I like to work on, it’s a fun challenge that really helps make a statement when the pieces come together well. 

One of the questions I asked the other girls was how often they shop….. insert dramatic silence here. I shop all the time. I work at the Loft so naturally I don’t actually get a paycheck from them. I work for clothes, and I’m totally alright with that. I try not to shop unless I am on a mission for something specific but when you are surrounded by new pieces and lots of florals (like I am now) there really is no way to contain my wallet. Anything that has florals, or some sparkle in it is something that I instantly gravitate to (must be the Disney princess in me) that being said I am 100% a Loft/lou & Grey girl. Nothing mixes comfort and style like Lou & Grey, if you have never touched one of their pieces quickly go grab something. I dare you to not buy it.

Okay fun facts about me – my fashion icon is Lauren Conrad. I think she is stunning and her looks are feminine, beautiful, conservative and timeless. Just what I like to go for. I am 6’1 so I do have trouble finding pants and dresses that are long enough for me however Loft and Old Navy tend to take the cake for me in fulfilling all of my tall girl needs. 

Fun act about me – I use to work for Disney and I miss it more than anything in the whole world. I would gladly give up my fashionista looks to be in my character attending costume again.

I am really excited to share one of my daily inspirations. I have been so blessed to get to follow her and chat with her over the last few years. Alexis Atarian is an inspiration to me in many ways; I love seeing what a brave, bold Christian woman she is. I love what an amazing mother and wife she is to her family and I LOVE HER STYLE! She dresses like no one I have ever known and I just love that about her. Style is so unique to each person, it can tell a story about someone and what they love. 

This style session is about a beautiful woman, @alexisatarian on Instagram, here’s a little more about her love for fashion and life. The first thing I always ask my style icons, friends and instagrammers is why they love fashion; Alexis explains “When I was young my grandmother taught me what it was like to have a personal style. She was always a very refined elegant woman. Watching her style herself is what initially sparked my interest in fashion to begin with.” So fashion has real deep meaning to her, as it does for most of us. I love what she says next, “Fashion to me is an art form. A means by which textile artists, stylists, seamstresses, and many more are able to create. It also happens to be the art form I prefer to express myself through!” I can completely relate to this, I often use fashion as my second go to when expressing myself, music/singing has always been my preferred method.

This mother of 3 says that if she had to use one word to describe her style it would be brave, I agree. So many things inspire my style, one of the great things about having a fashion community is being able to learn about what drives and inspires other people. Alexis says that So many things inspire her! “Paintings, photography, quirky fashion bloggers, people around me, and even nature! I would describe my personal style as being “minimal boho”, which is basically a fusion of basics with a splash of quirkiness.”

We all have that one thing we cannot live without, that one piece of clothing we find ourselves drawn to. Alexis breaks that trend saying that she truly need for nothing when it comes to my wardrobe. However, a dress is something she often finds herself gravitating towards when she’s thrifting. Mostly because dresses are an easy way to feel feminine and pretty without too much effort. Thrifting is her favorite; she always inspires me this way. I have never been thrift shopping before and from Alexis’ style, I clearly need to give that a shot. Shopping on a budget is always a great idea! “Something that fits well or is nice and flowy, and is slightly elevated from just an “everyday” piece.”

Fashion is always changing, evolving and pushing boundaries. It will never be stagnant, us innovators are always creating more ways to style and upgrade beautiful. When it comes to pushing boundaries and trying new trends she states; “Absolutely! I prefer to approach this carefully, considering I just like everyone else, have a very specific body type. Knowing this makes it easier to choose which would work for me or not. I also like to first alter pieces from my existing wardrobe to make them more trendy.” Now trying new trends can often mean shopping – one of my questions for all these style sessions is in regard to how often you shop. Recently Alexis explains that she hasn’t “shopped” at all! She’s currently working on putting together her own take on the “capsule wardrobe”. That being said, she does sometimes receive pieces from styling opportunities. Color or pattern are what first catch my eye. Something that is unique. My personal style is unique and sometimes all over the place, but I’ve come to be okay with that! I like dressing really funky one day, and then in workout clothes the next!”

Now these last few questions are for my own guilty pleasure! I love learning random things about people, so here is my opportunity to share with you some random facts about my friend Alexis! Seasons and weather can often bring a little difference in what you gravitate to when styling your looks. She said, “Hmmmm…it would have to be a tie between Spring and Fall. I think you can be the most creative in these seasons!” Diamonds or pearls? “neither”, How tall are you? Do you have trouble finding certain clothes? If so, where do you find them? Well, I’m 5’1″, and jeans are often hard to find that I don’t have to hem! I have yet to find some “as is” that are just right. A good compromise I’ve found lately are culottes, because they are cropped.

I want to thank Alexis for taking the time to answer my questions and send some pictures along for my blog. She is such an inspiration to me – such a genuine, sweet soul. The last question I always close my style sesh out with is what is a fun fact that you can share, not necessary related to fashion. Alexis’ fun fact is that she used to be the drummer in a band and they called themselves “The One Man Band”, since they had a male bassist! 

And now, coming from the glorious streets of Boston – Emmalyn! I have had the pleasure of knowing Miss Emma for many years. We love to go out together because we look absolutely outrageous together (seeing how she is 5’2 and I’m 6’1) naturally it looks like I’m trying to kidnap her, or babysitting her. She has dabbled in radio, music, modeling and so so so much more. Be sure to check her out – @Emmalynbonnie on instagram!

I spent last weekend in Boston with Emma doing a style session for a music video and after party she was attending. We had a blast putting looks together and talking about our favorite pieces and beauty products – all while sipping champagne because, well, that’s what we do!  She explained “I love fashion because it allows me to have my own individual style, but also has its own flow of trending changes to mix in.” As for her style, it’s classic, and that’s exactly how she described it.  Fashion is a person’s own sense of style in the sense of the word, but when I think about fashion as a whole, I view it as something far more passionate. People pour their heart and souls – using every ounce of their own creativity to create beautiful, timeless, jaw dropping or eclectic ensembles that ultimately make a statement. That, to me, is powerful.

As for a favorite season to style herself, Emma exclaimed “SUMMER!” Any opportunity to wear dresses is an immediate fave for her.  As for pieces that make her most comfortable, or a particular piece of clothing or accessory, she cannot leave the house without her rings.  But apparel wise she feels most like herself in a great pair of heels. Now I have known Emmalyn for years and if there is one thing I’ve seen her in most – it’s heels. After a mini break after multiple fractures it took almost a year to get back in the swing of strutting through the streets of Boston! Although it can be difficult to find the perfect pair for a petite gal rocking a size 5.

Emmalyn was telling me that when it comes to shopping there is one thing she really cannot turn down – a great dress! If she thinks about a particular item for 24 hours, it becomes hers. Her and I relate to being impulse shoppers (in a previous life, of course!) she explains that waiting 24 hours helps to prevent random pieces from taking over her closet, ultimately sitting in there collecting dust. Words to live by, we should all take the 24 hour lesson!

As for what inspires her looks? Moods. Chilly winter days when all she wants is to be cozy? Sweater, jeans and boots are the answer. If there is a hankering for dressing up? A dress, or skirt paired with a big necklace or some glitter earrings. How classic and contemporary. Although Emmalyn does enjoy trying new trends, she tends to stay more consistent with her particular style.

One of my favorite questions – how often do you shop? “I don’t shop often for myself. Working above a mall, it’s been about once a month lately to pick up a piece here or there. A wardrobe is a collection, and I really only add to it when I feel it’s a piece worth having.”  Style icon? – Jessica Simpson does an amazing job catering to her size and style however you can often find her poking around shops and boutiques on Martha’s Vineyard or Bobble & Lace on Newbury because channeling your inner Jackie O is necessary, such a flawless look.

What catches your eye – “cut” – Emma explains that being short and tiny, often times she has difficulty finding pieces that won’t be baggy but more on the fitted side with her  figure. Being 5’2, finding something that isn’t overly long or giving the impression she is a child borrowing clothes from a “grown up”, is difficult.  Loft fits well, especially for office wear, which can be very hard to find.

My favorite question – tell us a fun fact! Emmalyn laughs when she tells the story of how she has awful vision. So bad that she LITERALLY ran into Matt Damon and didn’t realize who it was until he was right in front of her. She always tells people that if they see her in public, be sure to come up and say hi – she’s not ignoring you, she just can’t see!

Welcome to Saturday fashion lovers! Today, I would like to introduce you  to one of my very best dressed friends. Just kidding, she’s one of my best friends too, BUT she is also very well dressed. Her name is Jessy, she is a preschool teacher in Massachusetts and one of the most loyal, loving and positive people I have been ever so blessed to know. I asked her to be a part of my style sessions and she didn’t think twice to help out.

Let me tell you a little about this girl; not only is she a pretty face, but she has a knack for fashion. She models (check Instagram for more on her interactions with American Eagle and my personal favorite – Kate Spade!) Stay tuned because she is dipping her feet into opening her own online boutique. I’ve seen some shots of her ideas and I can guarantee you that I will own pretty much all of it.

So, Jessy and I got to talking. I asked her why she loves fashion (as I am always interested in why people gravitate towards fashion!) and she said “I love fashion because it’s a way of expressing yourself without having to say anything at all. That, to me, is really powerful.” If she had to describe her style in one word it would be feminine, although she finds that confining her style to one word is extremely difficult. She gushes, “Fashion means a lot to me. It’s a form of art! It’s a way to express my personality and feelings, and it’s a great way of connect with people all over the world.”

As many know, fall is my favorite season of the year when it comes to fashion. I love the colors, scarves, chunky sweaters and lattes. Jessy agrees, stating that there is something about a good flannel, scarf and knee-high boots really makes her happy. Not to mention it’s the perfect outfit to frolic around an apple orchard with your best gal pals – for those of you who follow me on instagram, I’m sure you have seen our apple orchard pictures! Now you see where those comes from!

“I feel most comfortable in a good pair of skinny jeans. It’s a good starting base and you can easily dress them up or down! It makes creating an outfit so simple. My go to piece,  hands-down, would be a slouchy oversize sweater. I have a section in my closet just for them. I love to style them by getting them just a little too big so they hang off my shoulder, I just can’t resist sweater weather season. What influences you? The season, the atmosphere? Jessy related, saying that her surroundings inspire her style. She loves traveling, and while growing up with her mom, it was made a point to always say yes to exploring. You only get one life, take advantage of being with friends and going to new places.

Now, I’ve known Jessy for a few years now, and I can tell you she has a real obsession with peacoats. She said “I can thank London for that, as well as I have a hankering for a killer pair of heels – thanks to watching the women in Paris strut on the streets.” She likes to try new trends IF they still make her feel like herself. It’s always fun to switch it up.

Now lets talk about shopping! Personally, I love to shop – in fact, I purchased some new sweaters from Loft just today. Jessy can normally be found shopping at the beginning of each season. What would she be looking for? “Anything neutral in tone catches my eye when shopping” Clothes, purses and shoes? You name it!”  Often times, as women, we have our few main stores that we always hit up for new trends and styles each season. She loves Anthropologie. Anything that looks romantic and girly – she gravitates to!

When it comes to brands one of my all-time loves is Kate spade – she eagerly agrees! Not only is it one of her favorite brands but it’s also one of her dream modeling jobs that she landed this past year. “Their look is timeless with just a touch of fun! If I could swim in the sea of all their purses I would!”

Style Icon? “I don’t have just one fashion icon but Lauren Conrad comes to mind at the moment. I adore her sense of style and her looks are timeless and classic,  while still being current.”

I always end each of my style sessions with random questions – for my own fun – Diamonds or Pearls? “Diamonds are a girls best friend right?” (always a great answer!) As I’ve mentioned before, I am really tall – I asked Jessy if there was any struggle to dress herself because of her height. She indulged me by expaining that she is 5’8 – so clothes usually fit pretty well. The only area she really needs to pay attention to is her legs because they’re long, so when buying dresses, you need to find a modest length.

Okay – shoot, give me a fun fact! “A fun fact about me, not related to fashion, is that I love sharks! I can watch marathons after marathons of shark week past and present for hours. Ever since I saw Josh when I was seven I’ve been hooked!”

Stay tuned for next weeks style session, featuring Emmalyn Anderson – @emmalynbonnie

xoxo – Style by Leanne

Here we are again! Style session #2 featuring none only than my cousin, and Texas’ finest, Kai! (Instagram- @Hi_imkai) She is a 27 year old who is the lead UI/UX designer for Sherri Hill over in Austin, Texas. I absolutely loves Kai’s style because she creates an eye catching, yet classy, look on a daily basis. Something I also strive to do! She has great taste in jewelry/accessories and rocks a statement hat better than anyone I know! She was gracious enough to carve out some time from her busy schedule to answer some questions for me regarding what drives her love for fashion.

She explained that she loves fashion because she can channel every woman she has ever idolized and still be herself. “I can be classic and elegant like Princess Diana but still cozy and chic like Audrey Hepburn. I can emulate an effortless Parisian woman but randomly throw in a chunky statement necklace on my way to work because no one needs an occasion or an excuse to wear sparkly jewelry.” (PS I agree 100% with that statement – if it sparkles, WEAR IT. She continues to say that when you know the rules, you break them because afterall, that is what differentiated fashion icons from the masses. Her broad view of fashion is admirable, she really loves to test the limits by adding her own twist to her previously inspired looks.

I asked her if she had to describe her style in one word what would it be, she states “simple-ish”. She states that fashion means beautiful products, but style communicates to her louder. How someone uses something has more meaning to her than the fact that they simply possess it. I can relate to Kai in this sense, I love seeing how people use what they have. One of my favorite Instagram bloggers, Alexis @alexisatarian, uses the phrase “work with what you got”. I love that, don’t just possess a piece of clothing, or an accessory. MAKE it something more, make a statement that helps people see who you are and what you are passionate about.

One thing I am always curious about is everyone’s favorite “season” for fashion. Kai says that fall is her favorite for a few reasons. “Scarves hold my perfume scent all day long and nothing is more comfy than a sweater.” Oh, and a tip for a good sweater? She recommends Cotton On’s sweater collections. She says they are relatively cheap, for a good cause and really comfortable when you break them in. (@cottonon) When it comes to comfort Kai said that she loves when she looks tiny. “I have an athletic/wider build with a D chest so my go to is normally something that shows my long legs and hides my chest to make me simply appear slender and tall.” This is actually a great point, I have always said you want to accentuate the top or the bottom. I am very tall, and also have a D chest. If I’m going to wear a top that shows off my shoulders, or has a lower neckline, I always make sure that my legs are more conservative. If I’m wearing a shorter dress/skirt/shorts I always want to make sure to wear something more conservative on top. Less skin is classic, if I want to show off my long legs you can bet 100% of the time my top will be more conservative.

I have many go to pieces that you can always find a plethora of in my closet. Kai says that she is a sucker for some well fitting skinnies or a knit sweater no matter what the season. She also loves black lace (I DO TOO!) and even jokes that she may even wear a black lace dress to her wedding someday! Well, we know her go to pieces… now where does the inspiration come from? She jokes and says “Pinterest” but really, she said that she tends to gravitate towards a preppier vibe but likes to “disturb it with a little edge”. She states that she may be wearing all black but it will be an oversized, thin, batwing sweater with AG Contour 360 black High Rise skinnies and Simmi or Steve Madden boots. The silhouette is classic but the color combo (or lack-there-of) is edgier. She also states that she thinks that “styling is PERTINENT!” because it changes your look from the girl next to you.

I like to try new fashion trends and step out of my comfort zone. I don’t like to be stuck in a box, if you will. Kai says that she flirts on the line of trying new things. She says that she knows what works on her body. She gives the example of how she cannot go out and buy a romper made for a 5’6 girl’s proportions. (I also can relate to this!) “It’s all about fit for me. I may love it on you but that does not mean I have to force something ultimately unflattering on myself”. That statement is dynamite and really resonated with me. I know sometimes I want to make myself fit into a certain look SO BADLY that I will try just about anything until I “think” I can squeeze myself into it. One thing that we, as women/lovers of fashion, need to remember is that fashion is timeless and has no limit. However, there is a limit to what we can wear depending on our body type, height etc. Make your look flatter YOU.

Window shopping? Kai window shops daily via ecomm and her Instragram feed. She is a firm believer in retail therapy so sometimes window shopping on a gloomy day will make her happier. Should she still be gushing over a particular item she left in her cart a few days later she may just go back and get it. When she is shopping she tends to be caught up something that may fit into the Hamptoms or a classic European category. She explains that “this may range from a cropped jean to a leather jacket but each is definitely a specific “girl” with specific pieces.

Where to shop? “I’m an ecomm girl but that comes from my field and knowing from the business side what “true-to-size” may mean, or how something may sit on me by analyzing how it fits on the model’s body.” She loves Revolve and her cheaper go-to is Tobi. As far as brands are concerned; JBrand, AG Jeans, Madewell, All Saints and Theory are a few of her favorites. When it comes to a fashion icon she has many, some she has listed earlier in this interview. She does mention that her #1 girl is Arielle Not Charnas “AKA Something Navy”. She then says boldly how she “LOVES HER STYLE!” Kai explains that she is so lovable and unpredictable; the products she buys, her pairings and her personality. She cannot help but watch her Instagram stories, no matter what the length is. So be sure to check her out!

Now some of my “guilty pleasure” questions! One of my favorite questions is “diamonds or pearls?” Because I love both! Kai replies with “evening or day? I wear pearl earrings next to Kendra Scott bar earrings most days”, paired with her grandmothers diamond necklace.” You will notice from my last style session that my last two questions are pertaining to every day life “fun facts” and my icons height. As a tall gal, I have a hard time finding clothes that are the right length and fit. Kai is 5’11 (TALL COUSINS UNITE!) which is one of the reasons that she is obsessed with well fitting jeans. (as am I!) she hates how maxis rarely ever are long enough for her to wear heels with. “Most luxary brands run long because they expect pieces to be tailored so normally I try to find specific brands where the cuts cater towards my size but it’s not easy.” But when she does find a brand that suites her, it makes her a loyal customer!

Finally – a fun fact! Kai shares “I was able to get off the ground in Crow pose this week in Yoga!!!! VICTORY!” you go girl! We should have her and Casey (featured last week) teach us some fun yoga poses to try – keep them simple for people with zero flexibility like myself! Be sure to follow Kai on social media and take a part in her daily journeys and fashion adventures!

Xoxo – Style by Leanne

So here we are! Our first “Style Sesh!” On Style by Leanne. Every Saturday, I am going to feature one of my favorite friends/Instagram bloggers/ style icons and interview them on their loves of fashion. It’s exciting to be inspired by those around you and I love to share those I am inspired by!  So I reached out to some of my closest friends, family, instafriends (LOL) and sent them a list of questions regarding fashion and how it impact their lives, or doesn’t.

Up first is my gorgeous cousin, Casey. Casey is 23 and the Social Media and Marketing Manager/Office Coordinator at an Accounting Firm. I bounce ideas and looks off her daily and she has something I am always searching for. AN EDGE! Casey has a style unlike anyone else I know. She will come out one day in jeans and a tee then BAM be ready for dinner dressed chic in a leather jacket and bold lipstick. (And when I say bold, I mean Iike purple or blue. A color I would not DARE to try.)

I was chatting with Case the other day about fashion and was able to pull some information from her relating to what moves and drives her fashion choices. Case states that she loves fashion because there is always something different, it’s always evolving.  She states that if she had to describe her style in one word it would be “Indescribable”. She doesn’t want to fit in one category; she wants to explore old trends, new trends and push the boundaries making her own too. “Fashion means quite a lot to me. It is a way of expressing myself.  If I am sick, or sad, you’ll find me in my favorite college sweats and an oversized hoodie.  If I am feeling productive and energetic, you’ll find me in yoga wear with a leather jacket! It’s always a surprise.”  As for a favorite “season” of the year – Case excitedly says “FALL!” Boots, bold lipsticks, jeans, leather jackets and scarves? “Need I say more?!”

I know that I personally look for clothing, jewelry or anything that will make me feel 100% comfortable and confident in my own skin. I asked Casey what she feels most comfortable and her response was very similar to how I would feel too. “Jeans, booties, a t-shirt and her leather jacket are the “must haves” to a look, and feel, of total comfort. Well, that and some crazy lipstick.”

A go to piece that she just cannot help but buy when window shopping? BOOTIES! Especially when they are on the last chance rack at Charlotte Russe! She finds inspiration for her style by looking back at the oldies; high waisted boyfriend jeans and a flannel are regular pieces you can find her wrapped up in. Don’t let that fool you, she loves pushing the boundaries of her comfort zone and trying something new. If it looks challenging, and a little ridiculous, but falls head over heels for it – she is wearing it!
Shopping habits: shh, don’t worry we won’t tell anyone! — Casey disclosed to us that she is a random shopper. She may buy one or two items at a time but she’s not one to go on a “spree” just to go on a spree. She only buys things that she REALLY wants. When she is shopping she tends to be drawn to anything that is different, or outside of the box. She said “For instance the other day I saw a black and white plaid jumpsuit online and was immediately drawn to it.”  Favorite brand, you ask? “Lately I’ve been feeling Tobi and Charlotte Russe”, but as for fashion icons she said it was a mix of people;  Jennifer Morrison, Lily Collins and Kristen Stewart as of lately.”

Okay, last minute random questions! (Because I love fun facts!) I was quick to ask Casey her opinion on Diamonds or Pearls?  She said she isn’t really big on jewelry but she would definitely choose pearls.  She wears hers every day. As a tall woman, I’m always intrigued by different heights and how clothing fits, or doesn’t fit, everyone differently. Casey is 5’6 and she confidently states that she does not have any issues finding clothing she just finds that everything fits differently!

Last but not least, a fun fact! Casey is a writer, in fact she already has multiple books finished and underway!